Vigilante 8: Second Offense

a game by Activision, and Luxoflux Corp.
Genre: Racing
Platforms: Dreamcast PSX
Editor Rating: 8/10, based on 3 reviews
User Rating: 8.0/10 - 2 votes
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Vigilante 8: Second Offense
Vigilante 8: Second Offense
Vigilante 8: Second Offense
Vigilante 8: Second Offense

There's nothing quite like the thrill of vehicular combat to get your blood flowing. Spawned from the PC hit Interstate '76, the original Vigilante 8 took automotive destruction to a groovy new level on the PlayStation and the Nintendo 64. Set in the southwest United States during the 1970s, it was up to the Vigilantes, a group of freedom fighters to fight off the Coyotes, hired goons of a corporation bent on cornering the world oil market. The Vigilantes handedly defeated the Coyotes, ensuring that citizens can continue to drive fast and waste gas worry-free.

Fast forward 40 years, where the leader of the Coyotes, Slick Clyde, has been quite the busy boy. Instead of wallowing in self-pity after the defeat of '75, he has spent the past four decades constructing a time machine, one which he hopes to use to travel back to 1975 and make another attempt at defeating the Vigilantes. So begins V8: Second Offense.

The standard modes of play return. One player can choose Quest, Arcade or Survival Modes; two players can choose Quest, go head-to-head, or play cooperatively; and one to four players can deathmatch against each other.

Players will have 18 brand-spa nkin'-new cars to choose from, ranging from the standard four-door cruiser to a seemingly out-of-place Martian Land Rover. Some of the other vehicles include a garbage truck, semi-trailer, futuristic hovercar and some type of bus (Activision has decided to remove the school bus, see sidebar). Every vehicle is now equipped with alternative forms of propulsion. A hover-conversion allows a player to glide over rough terrain, a propeller system enables a smooth ride over water surfaces and a sled/tread combo permits maximum traction on snowy surfaces.

In addition to those new modifications, players can now customize the different attributes of their vehicles. By totaling an opponent, you can receive anywhere from one to five upgrade points that can be applied to either Avoidance, Strength, Speed or Something. This data can be saved to the VMU and used at the house of a friend (or enemy, as the case may be). And what good would a souped-up car be without an arena to drive around in? There are 10 new levels in Second Offense that are located all round the country, not just the Southwest. Some of these levels include a bayou in Louisiana, a nuclear power plant in Wisconsin and a steel mill in Pittsburgh.

V8: Second Offense happily takes advantage of the Dreamcast's graphical power. The game runs in a silky-smooth 60 frames per second in both one- and two-player modes, and Activision promises that it will be just as smooth when four players battle it out. There is some noticeable texture draw-in at the moment, floaty control and some minor graphical glitches, but an October release gives Luxoflux enough time to make any necessary fixes.

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Game Reviews

The super-freaky, funk-filled car combat contest. Vigilante 8, returns with a full-blown sequel on no less than three consoles. Dubbed Second Offense, the new game's time-traveling story line merges 70s' muscle cars with future technologies like hoverpods and wheel-mounted ski treads. Eight V8 veterans return to battle 10 new characters in 12 arenas across the country, including a nuclear power plant and the Louisiana Bayou. The sequel sports a moon buggy, motor home, garbage truck, and more than a dozen other vicious vehicles. (Sadly, the school bus might not make the final cut due to concerns over youth violence.)

Graphics are in for a boost across the board with enhanced explosions and better details (like exhaust and brake lights), and the controls will be tuned a bit. Also, more attention is being paid to the single-player Quest mode by equipping it with larger levels and more interesting missions. Dreamcast and N64 owners will get a few extra gameplay modes as well as four-player split-screen action. Gamers get to take Offense this October.

Overview

Gamers who are tiring of their Twisted Metal 2 game can swing over to the new kid in town: Vigilante 8: Second Offense, the sequel to Vigilante 8 and a game that reminded me of the PC hit Interstate ’76. The year is somewhere in the ‘70s and Earth is a different place due to the gas shortage which has allowed the oil kingpins to hold the world hostage. A group of destructive desperados known as the Coyotes are going from city to city trying to make the US into a gigantic junkyard and the only ones who can prevent this destruction are the Vigilantes. If you’re wondering how this imaginary scenario turns out, get out your bellbottoms and disco records and boogie on down to gameplay.

Gameplay

I’ll be up front: this game is an adrenaline producing machine that will have you twisting, turning, and finally cheering when you see a car go up in smoke. There are a large variety of cars and each one comes with the standard machine gun, which unfortunately is pretty weak and doesn’t do much damage. Not to fear though, you can get an assortment of missile and laser-based weapons in the form of pick-ups you run over all across the terrain. Most are recognizable as an icon but there are certain mystery ones that appear as a question mark (they’re usually great, so go get them!). In order to use these weapons effectively however you need to master the 180-degree turn, which requires the hand brake. This allows you to quickly turn on an enemy trying to snuff you out and to use some of the nifty gadgets you just picked up. Drive control is especially sweet with the dual analog controller where the left stick handles forward, reverse, and steering. The second stick controls the camera position, which is pretty slick and doesn’t suffer from the problems most 3D games have. The buttons control changing weapons, firing, breaking, and acceleration. The physics engine is incredible, with each vehicle having its own driving characteristics and suspension. When your car is taking on more damage, the car’s drivability also gets downgraded until finally you’re just sitting there waiting to be finished off.

There are a couple of different modes to choose from. The quest mode lets you pick one of nine colorful characters, complete with a hip looking car. Each quest is four missions long where you try to accomplish the two or three objectives set before you. Accomplishing the quest unlocks a new character or weapon. If you want to butt heads against some flesh and bone however, there is a VS. mode where you can battle it out with the screen split vertically or horizontally. If you’d rather make peace than war, team up in a cooperative mode where you take on the computer.

They did a "groovy" job on the terrain and exploring it will keep you occupied as you try to trigger cool events (like your car skiing off a giant jump), look for secret weapons, and find strategic spots. The combat spots were well chosen, as you’ll get to battle it out in scenes like an Arizona desert or a southern swamp. The weapons you pick up have the obvious abilities but some of them also have special abilities where you hit a certain key combination and they do extra damage or shoot extra rounds. Other pickups improve your cruiser with shields, radar jamming, weapon upgrades, or repair.

There only negative thing I can say about this game is it really lacks an in-depth storyline when compared to Interstate ’76. At the end of a quest, a short ending is played that tries to advance the storyline, but usually it is just confusing and doesn’t reveal much about the character.

Graphics & Audio

The graphics are pure eye candy. It is obvious they put a lot of time and effort into making each terrain unique and as detailed as possible and I’m glad to say the work paid off. As you’re driving around in the desert you’ll marvel at the cool hills, mines, and buildings. If you’ve ever gone skiing you’ll appreciate the ski resort as you’re slipping and sliding while keeping the enemy in your line of site. The audio is also great with each character having their own music that will catch you off guard and have you tapping your toes to the beat as you try to avoid a missile heading for your windshield.

Bottom Line

This is a terrific game that deserves a rental and possibly a buy if you’re the type who enjoys watching things blow up. The detailed terrain will keep you occupied looking for secrets and the colorful characters will make you laugh. The only part that could have been improved was to have given a more involved and detailed storyline.

Snapshots and Media

Dreamcast Screenshots

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